“It’ll take some adjustment but I’m really excited as a coach to have the team I have”
by Than Acuff
Coach Brandin Hamilton expects to build off of the strides the Titan boys’ basketball team made last year as he lost just two seniors to graduation, one of who was a starter. While the team had a slow start last year, they ended up winning six of their final 10 games and were peaking before their season ended with a loss to the top-ranked team in the state in the first round of regionals.
But with six returning seniors this year and a host of up-and-coming underclassmen, Hamilton is expecting to see continued success this year and has seen some signs of that since they started pre-season on Friday, November 11,
“Overall, things have been competitive,” says Hamilton. “There’s a good focus to continue where we left off last year.”
In addition to returning players, Hamilton has more players than ever before, with 25 out for the team. Helping him corral the herd will be Mike Bacani, who takes over as the JV coach.
“He’s going to be great for the program,” says Hamilton.
Hamilton did get the boys some time over the summer and while they saw success during the summer tournament season, there’s been a gap from then until now with players trickling in during the pre-season.
“We has a pretty good summer playing in June but then the kids had work and travel so we didn’t really get rolling again until the start of the season,” says Hamilton.
While they are big on numbers, the Titans are short on size. Hamilton had a couple big guys the past two seasons with one measuring six-foot-seven two years ago and John Thies last year, pushing the seven-foot mark. This year his tallest player is six-foot-one, forcing Hamilton to switch the Titans’ game up a bit.
“The focus will be transition on offense and defense and rebounding,” says Hamilton. “We want to make it a full-court game and we’re going to have to rebound by committee to try to get second looks and prevent the other team from getting second chances. It’ll take some adjustment but I’m really excited as a coach to have the team I have.”
Some of the adjustment includes installing a new offense for his team and the work they’ve done to make the changes got its first test last weekend with scrimmages against Cotopaxi, Gunnison and Salida. Hamilton was happy with what he saw in the season-opening scrimmage against Cotopaxi.
“In terms of executing the offense, we did great,” says Hamilton. “We did a good job of pressing the ball, which was the emphasis. The only place they hurt us was on the boards.”
The team struggled the next day against Gunnison and Salida. Missing three starters from last year to injury and other issues, Hamilton was forced to throw a couple of players into the mix that weren’t quite ready. While the Titans still suffered in the paint, there were still some signs of quality basketball.
“Our guards were more than up to the task,” says Hamilton. “There were a lot of match-ups that we were winning and we can get shots pretty easily—we just need to knock them down.”
The Titans continue with workouts during the Thanksgiving break and preparing for a huge test when they head to Leadville for a tournament December 2-3.
“That’s going top be a tough tournament. We’re playing one 4A team and two 3A teams,” says Hamilton.
As far as the outlook for the season, Hamilton believes his team is talented and looks forward to their new game plan—the team just needs to find its groove.
“We’re going to be good, just probably not at the beginning,” says Hamilton. “We’re deep, so once we get going, we’ll be fine. We just have to be positive and patient through the start. They realize they can be good but we just have to prove we can put it together and be consistent as a competitive basketball team.”